February 5, 2019

A Night of Poetry: Featuring Local Poets & Special Guests, February 1

This event, presented by The Schenectady Trading Company, took place at Electric City Barn, & was coordinated & hosted by Schenectady poet Caroline Bardwell. The readers included Caroline, Sarah Giragosian & Noah Kucij. Caroline gave us some background on The Schenectady Trading Company & on the Electric City Barn, both of which you can find on Facebook. Then she introduced the first reader.

Sarah Giragosian is the author of Queer Fish, winner of the American Poetry Journal Book Prize (Dream Horse Press, 2017) & has read at a number of local venues, including the Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center. She began with poems from Queer Fish, including a couple I hadn’t heard her read previously, “The Apocalypse Comes to Bodega Bay” & “Nursery Web Spider.” She has a new manuscript forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press The Death Spiral,  & read the stunning title poem, then others ranging from the Moon to the Galapagos Islands, ending with a love poem set by the Rio Grande “River Road.”

Noah Kucij has been in & out of the local poetry open mic scene for a number of years & was a featured reader at some local venues, including “Live from the Living Room” some years ago. A Schenectady native so it was not surprising that his poems dealt with his hometown, beginning with a poem, “In Memoriam,” about the now-closed Brandywine Diner, then a related piece “To the Girls Who Poured Coffee.” Although he read some poems on other topics, such as one about a sick puppy (“The Belt”), “Uses for a Brick,” or the striking conjunction of “Epileptic Valentine,” he sandwiched them between selections from a long memoir/descriptive poem about Schenectady titled “That Lights & Hauls the World.”

For the last year Caroline Bardwell has been showing up at local open mics to read her poems, many in traditional forms, as she writes & reads, finding her voice. It was then quite a treat to hear her read more than the 2 or 3 poems normally allotted to open mic readers. Appropriately enough she began with a tanka sequence about poetry that had a repeating, inter-locking line “poems are so much more than…” Then on to some poems from an imminent book of poems & photos On & Off the Trail, including “Summer” from her alliterative series on the 4 seasons, & a melancholy memoir “The Snowy Lean To,” & one I hadn’t heard previously “Cascade.” She ended with a cluster of poems from a series she is titling “An Exhibition of Emotions,” with poems on her Faith, on dance, & a sonnet with Biblical reference, as well as another sonnet titled “Unrequited,” & ended with a rondeau “A Dream Now Dead.”

It was an evening of good poetry in a fascinating new venue. Let’s see what the future brings.

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